-By Dan Murphy
In the 82 years since its inception, the Beacon Hill Garden Club’s Hidden Gardens Tour has become one of the neighborhood’s most eagerly anticipated events.
In May and June of 1929, 11 members of the fledgling Garden Club opened their gardens to the public for the first time at the inaugural event. Today, the tour typically attracts around 3,000 visitors from all over New England and as far away as England and Japan, said Louisa Miller, who co-chairs this year’s event with fellow Garden Club member Sandra Ilgen. This year’s event will feature 12 members’ gardens that will be open to the public and six “ribbon gardens,” which are cordoned off with fabric strips and only viewable from the outside. Gardens new to the tour this year are located at 35 Chestnut St. and 15 Ridgeway Lane, Miller said.
For the duration of this year’s tour, complimentary tea and refreshments will be served at Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer St., where Garden Club members will also sponsor a boutique, selling books, postcards and posters.The tour is expected to raise $50,000 this year, with proceeds going to support local, state and national environmental, horticultural and conservation groups, such as the Friends of the Public Garden and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
“We hope to get a wonderful; turnout because it’s vital to support these organizations,” Miller said.
The Garden Club will also use revenue from the event to pay for plantings and hands-on maintenance of the gardens at Codman Circle, Old North Church and the Peter Faneuil House, among other projects. The Beacon Hill Garden Club’s 82nd Hidden Gardens Tour takes place on Thursday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $30 each. Visit www.beaconhillgardenclub.org to purchase advance tickets and for more information, including ticket sellers.
Tickets will also be available on the day of the event for $35 each at the hostess booths at Charles and Mt. Vernon streets and Charles and Chestnut streets. Guests who sign up to receive paperless Hidden Gardens Tour invitations via e-mail will also receive a free pencil.